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Call for Papers: Special Issue "After the An­thro­po­cene: Time and Mo­bil­ity"

A special issue of Sustainability  

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2020

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sooner or later, the Earth will reach the end of ‘the Anthropocene’. As the effects of changing climatic regimes impose greater effects on earthbound habitation and the known ways of being in the present geological epoch, we would like to consider how humans and/or socionature might and should respond. Could we, for example, imagine a time after the Anthropocene, when humans would no longer be the dominant species on the planet? And if so, what would this imply for social organization? Could we consider the notion of the ‘late Anthropocene’ relevant for discussing the present when humanity—albeit in different place-specific ways—is forced to adapt in radical ways to the challenges that it faces?

The scholarly debate to date has paid relatively little attention to this space–time. Instead, the discussion continues to revolve around questions such as when the human-dominated epoch began; what to call it; who or what is to blame for it; and how we might respond to it in the immediate future. While these questions certainly deserve consideration, effort should also be aimed at questions of how the Anthropocene might come to an end (as a discourse and as an epoch); what post-Anthropocene might look like; and what this might signify for organizing social change, and/or caring for the nonhuman nature.

This Special Issue focuses on questions of time and mobility, insofar as these concepts enrich our understandings of what comes after the Anthropocene and how to exit the Anthropocene. We seek manuscripts that explore time and mobility after the Anthropocene. In relation to time and/or mobility, possible topics/lenses are:

  • Peace, conflict resolution, and nonviolence;

  • Basic human and nonhuman needs (food in particular);

  • Human–nature relationships, naturecultures, and socionatures;

  • Utopias and dystopias, as well as mixtures of these two;

  • Social movements and resistance;

  • Nomadism, immigration, refugees;

  • Collapse, survivalism, and anarcho-primitivism;

  • Neo-indigenous imaginaries and ecovillages;

  • Technology and tools;

  • State, governance, policy, and law;

  • Cosmology, spirituality, and religion.

Just as the Anthropocene marked a global matter-energetic shift, the end of the human epoch also marks significant changes in the deep geological time of the Earth’s history. Different temporal perspectives and rhythms might well play a role in how the time after the Anthropocene will unfold. There is a need to begin to conceive time not only in anthropocentric terms, but more holistically, e.g., in terms of rocks. Thus, instead of merely seeking to save the world for future human generations, consideration and care for other animals, plants, and rocks—constituents of the Earth—opens up a different time horizon.

A possibility is that the on-going mass movement of people and other earthbound beings will both be an outcome and reason for the new epoch. Furthermore, the travel of earthbound beings beyond the boundaries of Earth—the exploitation of space—is an issue calling for critical reflection. Finally, the mobility of deep geological formations of the Earth merits consideration as well; the movement of lithospheric plates has historically changed the course of life on the planet in a remarkable way. The trouble of moving, living, and dying together in the late Anthropocene necessarily brings about new practical and theoretical questions of power, as the recent formulations of ‘geopower’, for instance, cogently demonstrate.

Dr. Pasi Heikkurinen
Dr. Toni Ruuska
Prof. Anu Valtonen
Dr. Outi Rantala
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Anthropocene

  • time

  • mobility

  • nature

  • culture

  • sustainability